When I read "Do well by doing good" by Charles Whitney, MD, and Daniel A. Bobrow, MBA, in the May 2013 issue, I couldn't help but hear an alternate script in my head. This is how I was translating what they were writing: "We're too busy and important to hold the hands of our overweight patients. Our staff is also too busy. Besides, it's awkward and we don't want to upset anyone. Dental hygienists, though, they have all kinds of time, and we don't care if they upset patients. Make them do it."
Seriously? A physician and an MBA want us to add obesity counseling to our appointments? In the first place, how are they qualified to suggest what goes on during our appointments? In the second place, do they think oral/systemic links are a new idea for us? In the third place, isn't it a bit of a stretch to dump this responsibility off onto dental hygiene, when it has always fallen more closely in line with a medical exam?
The article starts out by admitting the medical community has not been able to control the obesity problem in the United States. It continues by outlining the steps necessary to create a lasting change in health habits. It finishes with a rousing call to action: "Your patients and your country need your help." The article appears to be part of a marketing push aimed at health professionals in general to introduce Bobrow's Third Era of Medicine concept. Good luck to him and his program; I hope it does well. I believe hygienists are already informed and proactive about oral/systemic links, and will embrace the broad concepts of the Third Era of Medicine. I will not, however, be adding obesity counseling to my appointments anytime soon. RDH
Cathy Hester Seckman, RDH
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